Is this your image of grandparenting? Pictures taken of grandparents when they visit with the family smiling? Vacations taken to grandma and grandpa's house for the summer, Thanksgiving or Christmas?
Perhaps it is taking your children to visit their grandparents in a nursing home, or your parents (grandparents) live with you or in our case, our grandchildren live with us.
Whatever your vision of grandparenting is or was, has probably been changed a bit over the last five years or so unless you have been incredibly blessed to live in an area where you have heard no news, have not heard the stories or realized the dynamic family make-up is changing.
It tickles me when people come up to me and say: 'I don't know if I could do what you and your husband are doing.' I always tell them, it is a blessing from God, but what I really want to ask, is what makes you think you couldn't do it or why wouldn't you do it? I do not ask these questions because in all sincerity, it isn't any of my business.
What is even more funny, is when they ask me, 'with all those little ones, how do you and your husband have time for...you know, sex?' Hmmm, maybe I need to write a book on creativity!
What I usually tell them is first of all, never ever close and lock the door to the house when the kids go out and play. It has this odd way to somehow send with telepathic waves to the child that the door is locked. The minute you start to undress....well, those with little ones know:
- All of a sudden they have to go home and tell you they love you.
- They have to use the bathroom and now!
- They fall and get a boo boo that needs (in their opinion) your immediate attention.
- They need a drink and water at a friends just isn't as good as water at home.
- They told the neighbor you wanted to talk to them.
- They picked the neighbors flowers and the neighbors want to talk to you!
- They want to know why the door is locked.
The list goes on forever and ever, and if you have grandchildren like mine, that have abandonment issues, they will freak out and begin crying and screaming until someone gets that door opened.
Become creative. Get out of your box. Utilize friends and family if you can. Utilize a babysitter or daycare, but make some special time alone with the person you love and DON'T unless you absolutely must, allow the children to sleep with you. Our grandchildren get cold or have bad dreams at times and they will crawl into bed with us, but we don't start that way at night.
When you were younger, there was a way around it when you had smaller children, now you are much wiser and older and it should be easier.
What I am getting to is schedule that much needed us time. Make sure while you are caring for the grandchildren, that you aren't forgetting to take care of each other, to tell each other how much you are glad they are a part of your life, that you love them and don't be afraid to allow the other person much needed time alone.
If you begin to feel cranky, crabby or resentment, everyone around you will feel those emotions. Don't allow raising your grandchildren to steal your joy, make time to be joyful, make time to be selfish and in the end, everyone will win!
We have a front porch that sits up and away from the street, some evenings we just sit out there holding hands, not talking, just sitting and relaxing and spending us time together. While the kids are in school we sneak out to a restaurant we haven't tried and enjoy a quiet lunch together. These are also the times that you have alone, no one in the house, take this time to be intimate with one another. It isn't rocket science people, it is love and respect and joy at being together in spite of your circumstances.
I am in many ways blessed to be a substitute teacher so if I begin to notice we haven't had any us time in awhile, I will take the time to not work on one of his days off so we can have that quiet time together.
Pay someone to do the lawn. We aren't rich, but it is well worth the $50 per month to have someone else mow the lawn and free us up from doing it. Get a pedicure once in awhile and pamper yourselves.
After all, you deserve it, you have worked hard for it and if you ask your grandchildren, I just know they would tell you to go for it!